Buvuma, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Members of Kewerimiire Fish Farmers Association in Busamuzi sub county, Buvuma district have resorted to homemade feeds in order to avoid the high cost of commercial fish feeds.
The 16 farmers started cage fish farming at the height of operations by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit five years ago. However, the farmers say the costs of commercial fish feeds are almost chasing them out of business.
As a result, the farmers have resorted to mixing local ingredients including cassava, sunflower, potato leaves, dried bananas, rice, soya beans and dry animal bones to make fish feeds.
They are however, distressed with the low quantities and size of fish they get as compared to feeding the fish using commercial feeds.
Godfrey Gazamba, the chairperson of Kewerimiire fish farmers says they used to buy a variety of feeds from different producers. He however says after failing to get proper market for their fish harvest, it became difficult to maintain the use of commercial feeds.
At his cage alone, Gazamba could use about 350,000 Shillings each month to feed over 6,000 tilapia and 200 Nile perch. He requests the government to come to their rescue by extending credit facilities so that they can improve their feeding system.
George Apire, a fish farmer in Kabubu village appeals to the government to help them find the proper market and improve their financial status if they are to remain in the business.
John Musangogwantamu, another farmer explains that lack of improved feeds is affecting their production rate.
Samuel Mpiira, the Buvuma District Production Officer notes the challenge of commercial fish feeds is common among fish farmers within the district. He says the majority of farmers are using local ingredients to blend feeds.
Vincent Ssempijja, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries-MAAIF encouraged Buvuma residents not to lose hope at an early stage since the ministry is now much focused on boosting the fisheries industry through cage farming.
He notes that they are in the process of coming up with a technical service provider to solve the challenge of feeds, which is becoming common among farmers.
“The Ministry is focused on visiting various farmers to find out how they can be helped to advance through science and technology. The government also provides credit support but many of our people have been reluctant to access it,” Ssempijja notes.